Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 314

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I haven’t done an OITS since my return from vacation, so it’s about time.

Now that vacation is over, the fall means returning to volunteering with English Second Language adults, ushering at plays, and ballroom dancing with seniors and with adults with Down Syndrome … plus playing handbells.

Speaking of handbells, here’s the piece we’re playing this weekend. Click to watch and listen.

It’s been another good season for Dancing with the Stars. Amazing how that show keeps chugging along. They are down to the final 6: two whose time it is to go, and 4 worthy of making the final 3.

Italians love picking their own mushrooms.
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I’ve been spending significant time researching and writing on my religion and science project. I must say that it has been quite the learning journey, and one that may lead to self-publishing.

All of us know that there is more to a person we know than we think. Rich works at the golf course, but he’s in carts. This weekend he is officiating his last high school football game … after 40 years! Impressive!

Some may be wondering about the next musical. The ideas are in my head, but it is important for me to be as available as possible during musicals. Therefore, no announcement is in the near future.

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Hooray … presumably, the U.S. presidential election will be over soon! Regardless of the outcome, no more campaign commercials on Wednesday … actually Tuesday evening. Woo hoo!!!

This past Friday I waited in the doctor’s office, where a cable news channel is always on. During the 90 minutes I waited, the election was the only topic covered. Isn’t anything else happening in this country and the world?

Regardless if I agree or disagree with the statement, I enjoyed this comment: Americans are facing a choice between a crook and a creep.

From the warped side of the political spectrum, read this … and this clown is my state senator.

Regardless of the final outcome for the presidency, I’m hoping another four years of divided government. That is, the White House, control of the Senate, and control of the House of Representatives is not controlled by one party. Divided government has been ineffective and inefficient the past 6 years. However, in the current political climate, divided government prevents one party shoving their preferences down everyone’s throat.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Earthquakes in Italy
Donald Trump’s popularity
The rotten season of my favorite football teams (2 college and 1 pro)
Too many campaign commercials on television
Samsung’s problems with the Galaxy 7 and washing machines

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion lists the most-ignored issues in the US Presidential campaign.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man who stopped dieting already seeing results
Grandmother doesn’t care for new priest
Pope Francis hosts feathered serpent god as part of deity exchange program
Each member of family on edge as vacation has gone without one blowout fight
Non-dominant hand completely botches nail clipping job
Anthropologists discover isolated tribe of joyful Americans living in remote village untouched by 2016 election

Interesting Reads
A Medal of Honor story
A story about drilling holes in skulls
Chinese glass walkway
Some of the world’s most boring jobs
History of drywall
The religious reacting to medical advances
An interactive: Henry Hudson’s travels
(Photos) National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

For your weekend, here’s the latest from The Piano Guys. Enjoy the trip! Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Few Bits Before …

Greetings everyone. I’m still present, but just not writing and visiting much. Out of respect to the many good people who visit my little corner of the world, I wanted to check-in.

I know my presence has been (at best) faint, but I continue to struggle with the enthusiasm necessary to post and visit. However, in my tradition, it’s also time for a Fall Break.

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The current political climate in the US is pathetic (and that’s being kind). Besides our election process being too damn long and too expensive, I’m sick of it, therefore have to get a few things off my chest.

I like this recent quote from columnist David Brooks that describes American voters.

Politics is catching up to social reality. The crucial social divide today is between those who feel the core trends of the global, information-age economy as tailwinds at their backs and those who feel them as headwinds in their face.

David Axelrod’s comment about Hillary Clinton is right on: “Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?”

Anyone who doubts the existence of a right-wing conspiracy against Mrs. Clinton is either clueless or part of the conspiracy. Nonetheless, why she (and her campaign) make choices that feed the conspiracy is beyond me!

Here’s another thing that causes me to slap my forehead. Why isn’t Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic Party making issue of the lack of action by the Republican-led Senate regarding the Supreme Court vacancy?

1968 was the first US presidential election that I closely followed … and I have engaged in them ever since. During that time, the current candidates are the 18th and 19th different candidates nominated by the two dominant parties. (Repeats counted once). I would unquestionably vote for any of the previous 17 candidates over Donald Trump. Yep … Nixon, Humphrey, McGovern, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Mondale, Bush (HW), Dukakis, Clinton, Dole, Bush (W), Gore, Kerry, Obama, McCain, and Romney would get my vote before The Bloviator.

Enough said.

To lead us into my upcoming absence, here a song from the greatest band not (for whatever strange reason) in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 277

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Cheers to your efforts of making Act 3 of Dance The Musical a success.

In the next and last act for Dance: The Musical, Act 4 provides the biggest challenge of any musical act.

  • Songs must feature the name of a dance in the title
  • Waltz, Macarena, and Hokey Pokey are acceptable examples … BUT ….
  • No dance can be used more than once
  • No children songs
  • Info is on the Hear Ye page
  • Performance time: next Tuesday at 9:30 pm (Eastern US)

I will probably have an Explore post this weekend.

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Wouldn’t you know it. Kim Davis (the Kentucky County Clerk) finally made a good decision, and then screws it up when she added a disclaimer line to the marriage license. The lady doesn’t get it and I think she’s getting lousy legal advice. Meanwhile, The Onion got their word in by doing this profile on her.

In terms of the second Republican Debate, yep – I followed my same format as before: deciding not to watch, then get some information from a variety of talking heads. The day after I watched both CNN and Fox News … and I came away with the same conclusion about these two networks – There’s no way they were talking about the same event – although the difference wasn’t as vastly different as after the first debate.

I discovered (from NPR) the amount of talk-time for each candidate in the second debate. The data supports my idea that the “debate” is the wrong term. Although the evening’s rules naturally skew the results.
TalkTime2For the interested, here are various FactChecks from the event: PolitiFactsWashington PostCNNFox NewsAssociated Press

To lead you into this week’s satire, here’s The Onion’s help to parent when talking to children about death.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (Combos welcome)

  • Juggler’s Medication Wears Off Halfway Through Routine
  • Report: 92% Of Americans Would Have Gotten Over Ex By Now
  • Report: Oyster Cracker–Wise, Nation Doing Pretty Good
  • Google Engineers Invent New Body Part To Strap Gadgets Onto
  • Weather Report: Upturned earthworms imminent
  • Gender Guessed Correctly On Second Try

Interesting Reads
Pope Francis and the Vatican: Who changes who?
The blind hiker
China’s growing middle class
Africa’s population boom
(Video) Connection in and through dance (Thanks Lame)
Headless chicken
(Photos) Autumn in Alaska

Here is another two-fer to lead you into the weekend. A leftover from Act 4 (I was surprised it wasn’t used) and a rock classic. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


On Science & Technology: The Forum

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The odds of actually seeing this take are someplace between slim and none – so, why not here? After all, these two topics are more important than ever, and are the center of numerous important issues that the candidates frequently ignore, skirt, or poorly answer.

We should note that neither political party would agree to these rules and the debate topic because they prefer rules that favor them – not the voters. Therefore, our aim is getting the answers that Americans need to hear or identifying the fraudulent candidates.

Introduction
Welcome to the aFrankAngle Theater for the Performing Arts as it hosts the Presidential Forum on Science and Technology. This first-ever event is co-sponsored by the aFrankAngle Center of Blogging Decency and the aFrankAngle Foundation for Candidate Accountability and No-Campaign-Bullshit. We’ve invited all the candidates from both major parties

First, the rules.
Rule 1) The moderator makes the rules, asks the questions, and runs the debate. Anyone disagreeing with any of the moderator’s questions, rules, or actions during the debate should always refer to Rule 1.

Rule 2) When answering the question, talk back to the audience through the moderator. For instance, start your answer by paraphrasing the question as your introductory phrase. For instance: (Q) What is your favorite color? (Ex) My favorite color is blue. Bad examples of starting an answer include (which some, maybe all, on this stage have used):

  • I think a better question is ….
  • Let me tell you what I think.
  • I’m not going to talk about that, but I will say …
  • That’s a good question, and I’m happy to be here.
  • I believe the American people are looking for someone to speak the truth.
  • First of all, …

Rule 3) After your answer, provide several supporting statements for your answer. (Ex) My favorite color is blue because it was the most prominent color at my grandparent’s house. I would spend time with them each summer amidst all that blue. I would go outside to work and play with all that blue sky – endless on the open plains – simply beautiful. I also resemble my grandmother, and wouldn’t you know it, I inherited her blue eyes. Those are the main reasons why blue is my favorite color.

Rule 4) Focus on answering the question and staying on topic. If you babble, go off topic, criticize the current administration or any fellow candidate, the moderator will turn off your microphone and enclose you in the Cone of Silence. On the third offense, you will be removed from the stage in an unexpected manner as a trap door, hooked cane, or a vaporizer.

Rule 5) If you answer the question to the moderator’s satisfaction, there will be no follow-up questions.

Also note that we prepared as many questions as possible without an introductory premise because we want to avoid leading questions and bias. The audience should know that the candidates did not receive the questions in advance, however, received a list of topics as science/science processes, evolution, genetics, health, technology, energy, and the environment.

Topic 1:Science
Q1) What is science?

Q2) Give examples of good science and bad science – but each example of one requires an example of the other.

Q3) Does science have limits on its area of study?

Q4) How do you define a scientific theory?

Q5) Is it acceptable for elected officials to hold back or alter scientific reports if they conflict with their own views, and how will you balance scientific information with politics and personal beliefs in your decision-making?

Q6) Do science and religion compete against each other?

Q7) Explain why Intelligent Design and 7-day Creationism should or should not get time in the science classroom.

Topic 2: Genetics
Q8) The field of genetics has exploded possibilities. What is the right policy balance between genetic advances and potential risks?

Q9) What is your position on government regulation and funding of stem cell research?

Q10) Assuming health insurance companies cannot deny health insurance, is the information from genetic testing/screening the same as a pre-existing condition?

Q11) How should we use and not use genetically modified plants?

Q12) Scientist created seedless watermelons by chemically changing the chromosome number in watermelons. Should seedless watermelons be banned?

Topic 3: Health
Q13) How do you see science, research, and technology contributing to improved health and quality of life?

Q14) How do you protect citizens from pandemics?

Q15) What role do vaccines have in our society today?

Q16) Should a public school and a private school have the authority to deny admission of a student whose parents decided not to vaccinate their children?

Q17) In a time of fiscal restraint, how do you secure more funding toward combating mental illness?

Q18) Should the Federal government financially fund research in science topics as health and energy?

Topic 4: Technology
Q19) Should the internet be considered a public utility?

Q20) How can science and technology spur innovation?

Q21) In an era of budget cutting, how can promote research while reducing spending on research?

Q22) What role does science and technology play in national security?

Topic 5: Energy and the Environment
Q23) Water is necessary. Should the Federal government provide financial assistance to arid states and/or states with considerable droughts?

Q24) What role do alternative energy resources have in our society?

Q25) What role does the United States have in the global community regarding climate change?

Q26) Explain 3 concerns you have about the climate change issue.

Q27) In the recent nuclear negotiations with Iran, why or why not should physicists be on the negotiating team?

Q28) Would you abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? If not, why not? If so, how would environmental regulations be protected and enforced.

Topic: Questions From the Audience
Because all the candidates have been removed from the stage for repeated rule violations, let’s bring back all of them because it’s time for questions by the audience.

What questions do you have for the candidates? (Caution to questioners: Respectfully ask your question in nonpartisan manner; plus the question is to all candidates, not a specific candidate.)

A reminder to the candidates. Let’s see if you’ve learned anything about answering questions in a debate. The rules still apply, and to see if you’ve learned anything, no leniency.

Mr. Producer, is the buzzer ready?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 163

On Politics
The Cincinnati Enquirer hosted a foreign reporter for 10 days regarding the election. During his time here, he attended local speeches by President Obama, Mitt Romney, and the First Lady. The article he wrote following the election is an interesting perspective. Because of where the reporter’s home and given the election results, the comments are also interesting.

Meanwhile, those suffering from Election Distraught Syndrome are signing petitions to get their state to secede, which is the conservative equivalent of a losing liberal saying they are moving to Canada. I’m still waiting on the person to exercise their promise of saying they were moving out of the country if Barack Obama won in 2008. Of course, the people do forget they have the individual right to secede, which means move AND denounce your citizenship.

On a similar theme, here’s an article about 6 bizarre election reactions.

Last week I wondered if winners would shy away from declaring mandates. Two days later, I read this quote from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): We Republicans in the House and Senate think we have a voter mandate not to raise taxes. (Source)

Interesting, but to no surprise, Congressional Republican firm stance on no tax increases for the rich, which (to me) means they prefer to raise taxes on everyone. Although they are in a pickle, which could mean “It’s time to play Kick the Can.”

I like these words from conservative columnist Peggy Noonan: The Republicans worked hard but were less clear-eyed in their survey of the field. America has changed and is changing, culturally, ethnically—we all know this. Republican candidates and professionals will have to put aside their pride, lose their assumptions, and in the future work harder, better, go broader and deeper. (Source)

Gov. Romney’s recent account about blaming his loss serves as good evidence to support Peggy Noonan’s statement. Cheers to some as Gov. Jindal (R-LA) for  saying something sensible.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Needy Nation Breaks Down after First Full Week without being Pandered to by Politicians
  • Report: Majority of Americans Now Eating One Consecutive Meal a Day
  • 5-year-old Girl Feels like She Just Wasted Whole Carousel Ride Waving to Dad
  • Nation Horrified to Learn about War in Afghanistan While Reading Up on Petreaus Sex Scandal
  • Kim Jong-Un Named The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2012

Interesting Reads

On Potpourri
Thanksgiving is next week in America. My wine recommendations for the Thanksgiving meal are Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer because the flavors from green beans, sweet potatoes, and cranberries screw up wine pairings for this feast.

Cheers to my alma mater for making The Onion this week.

For those noticing the nested dolls in the first St. Petersburg post, this one made me laugh – plus, it could be a potential holiday gift for the hard-to-buy-for person in your life.

Thank you Viveka for this award!

There will be a Saturday Morning Classic Cartoon post this weekend.

More Ginger Ale Reviews
Thomas Kemper Ginger Ale: Smooth; ginger tasting not overpowering, but enough to linger; not spicy; creamy quality with a hint of vanilla to me; honey is an ingredient – I like it!

Blenheim Ginger Ale: With the initial taste, I thought sweetness with low ginger. The ginger taste is delayed and with a touch of spice – and lingered. Another good one!

Here’s a touch of jazz to send you into the weekend. Well, handbells and chimes jazz with a light touch of drums. Believe it or not, it works! Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Election Night 2012

It’s Election Night in America. I wrote this post several days ago with this night in mind so, at the time I publish this, the elections results are young and without a declared winner in the race for president.

While one party likes to walk around with the pocket Constitutions, all members of Congress swear to uphold it. The U.S. Constitution is an interesting document, but to me, the following are the three most important words: We the people.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the People elect members to Congress to represent We the People in order to pass laws, control the budget, and exercise authorities granted by the Constitution.

We the People elect members to represent all people, which means not just the ones who voted for the elected; not an ideology; not a political party; not a religion, not a financial donor, not a special interest – but yes, to represent We the People.

We the People elect members to serve all people regardless of their faith, thus the elected are not to serve their religious preference. After all, the Constitution is quite clear regarding religion. Let the elected not forget that the Constitution lacks words as God, Creation, Christian, Jesus, and Lord (which only appears in the Signatory section).

Although Christian principles may have influenced the Founding Fathers, the Constitution does not declare the U.S. as a Christian nation. If the elected represent Christianity, what about the nonChristians? If the elected represents Christianity, which denomination will you represent? Then, what about the other Christians?

We the People are from all faiths and no faiths, therefore, our representatives should avoid submitting proposals on behalf of Christianity because what the church considers best for itself may not be in the best interest of We the People.

Representing We the People requires avoidance of firm ideology or a party each of these diverts attention from the needs of We the People. Adherence to a party or ideology silences We the People, and blocks the path to meaningful solutions.

Representing We the People requires conviction to represent the needs of the people who did not vote for the elected. After all, they too are We the People.

Representing We the People requires patience, the ability to listen, to desire to find the common good for all, to watch-out for and respond to human need that is beyond one’s self interests, party, or ideology.

Representing We the People requires discussing among yourselves to share ideas and concerns in order to work toward a solution for the common good – an idea that may be found in one side, the other, a compromise, or outside the grounds established by ideology, party, religion, self-interest, or special interest.

We the People need effective government to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, to provide a common defense, to promote general welfare, and to secure liberty for all of We the People. Especially during this time, we need our elected officials to make difficult decisions – the ones that test their gut against their party, their ideology, their religion, their self-interest, their donors, and special interests.

Along with a president, on this day we elect all 435 members of the House of Representatives, and 33 members (approximately one-third) of the Senate. Their task seems simple, but I also know they will represent religion, a party, an ideology, self-interests, special interests, and donors over We the People – therefore, let me be the first to say the following about the newly elected, ‘Starting in 2014, throw the bums out. All of them! Clean house!” After all, We the People deserve better.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 161

I invite you to try something different today. The video contains segments of a wonderful orchestra piece: New Beginnings by Peter Boyer – which provides a grand sound that is very me. So, please launch the video to serve as your background music for this edition of Opinions in the Shorts.

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On Politics
A friend of mine wanted the FactChecks from all the Debates. Here ya go, Jim!
Debate 1, VP Debate, Debate 2, Debate 3

FactCheck recently did this campaign summary

I will have an interesting post that will go live Election Day evening.

Senator John McCain declared that the Libyan embassy event is the great incompetence he’s ever seen regarding national security. I have a question for Senator McCain: Greater than 9-11?

Regardless the results of the presidential election and assuming the Republicans keep control of the House of Representatives, it will be interesting to see who they select as Speaker of the House. In case they don’t know, I am Constitutionally qualified and available.

Some pundits are discussing the increased possibility of neither presidential candidate having enough electoral votes to win.

I find it interesting that some newspapers endorsements have been tepid.

The ad from Randall Terry is so bad that stations have disclaimers before showing it.

Each political party is actively fund-raising for legal challenges of the election. Oh boy – better brace for the possibility of no winner come Wednesday morning.

Here are two early states that could spell trouble: If Romney loses Florida, or if Obama loses Pennsylvania. Yet, NY Times columnist Gail Collins focuses on Cincinnati as she writes here something that we already knew – it’s all about Ohio.

Because of the political ads, we’ve limited the local evening news to the weather – thus switched to local classical radio station for dinner music – which is easy the using the Mute button.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • New High-Tech Voting Machines Lets Voters Manipulate Candidates
  • Misinformed Man Riding Out Storm in Bathtub Filled with Batteries
  • 20 Idiots Evacuated from Times Square M&M’s Store
  • Man Throws Man at Problem
  • Birthday Card Discretely Passed around Office like Covert CIA Operation
  • Mom Calls to Make Sure Son not Under Dangling Crane
  • Weird Couple has Greatest Sex after Announcement of Disney-LucasFilm Merger

Interesting Reads
A pipe organ builder
Race baiting and the election (by an editor, not a hack)
Benefits of practice
The Rise of Asian-Americans
God and science
Who needs facts
Image: Fibonacci and Hurricane
My past post about Fibonacci

On Potpourri
Strength to all those affected by Superstorm Sandy; thus I encourage those who can to donate time, goods, or money to the relief efforts. Please consider the American Red Cross or the charity of your choice.

Baseball’s World Series is over, so congratulations to the San Francisco Giants and their fans. Meanwhile, the series enjoyed one of the low TV ratings ever, thus another reason to hate Commissioner Bud Selig.

A reminder to the U.S. readers that this weekend we switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time – so don’t forget to set the clocks back.

With the cool weather here and cold not far away, it’s flannel sheet season in our house. Is anybody else a fan of flannel sheets?

There will be a Saturday Morning Classic Cartoon post this weekend.

Thanks for everyone for making October 2012 my third best month ever.

Ginger Ale Report

Natural Brew Outrageous Ginger Ale: Good ginger with a hint of spice that lingers – Fits my taste well.

Fresh Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost: This one looks funny with the ginger sediment that one sees in the clear bottle – thus it’s unfiltered. Mild ginger taste, not a lot of carbonation, but there is a lingering spicy kick. This is a pleasant surprise.

Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.